Concerned Women Through History: Religious Liberty — Miriam, Anne Hutchinson, and Tanya Ditty

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Freedom.  It’s something for which every human heart longs.  That opportunity to connect with God and seek Him.  Women throughout history have taught the world something about the need for freedom.

Miriam, from the book of Exodus, helped her brother Moses lead their nation out of slavery into freedom.  Retellings of this epic story often leave out that Israel’s freedom was fundamentally tied to the Israelites need to freely worship God which they were not allowed to do in Egypt: “Then say to [Pharoah], ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let My people go, so that they may worship Me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened,’” (Exodus 7:16).  Israel’s Exodus reminds us that the freedom of nations is tied to the freedom of religion; one begets the other.

And God’s people, once free from Egypt’s grasp, had to make a conscious, willful decision to follow God.  Their religious freedom allowed them to choose rightly or wrongly: “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD,” (Joshua 24:15).

Likewise in America, people must choose whether to follow God, and be free and unhindered to do so according to their conscience.  In the early days of the colonies, Anne Hutchinson fought for our nation to be one founded on the principle of religious freedom, not one particular sect or denomination against others. In what would become the nation of “E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One),” Ann was ahead of her time in respecting conscience.  After her own specific religious beliefs lead her to part with the majority religion, she moved to Rhode Island and helped establish freedom of religion there.  She was laying the groundwork for what would become a great American value outlined in the eloquent words of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

And today it’s Concerned Women for America of Georgia State Director Tanya Ditty who carries on this American legacy of religious freedom. She has stood up for our fundamental right to freedom of conscience — the right to think and believe what we want without fear of punishment.  She has fought tirelessly for religious freedom legislation in Georgia that ensures broad-based religious protections for all its citizens. She had this to say about the importance of religious freedom: “It is the bedrock of all liberty, and it must be protected now for the sake of the generations that come behind us.”

Blessings for future generations are such an important concept to America.  Ask God how you can be a part of ensuring a legacy of religious freedom in America.